Otavalo, Cuenca and Mancora
15.07.2013 - 28.07.2013 24 °C
Hi there everyone,
Sorry for not making an entry for a very long time, the time I have been having has just been so good, I have been unable to find a break to sit down and write this for you guys and upload photos for your eyes only...
Last time, I left you guys I was in Quito and that was exactly two weeks ago. I have moved quite a bit since then but stayed mostly in the Andes.
While I was in Quito, I was lucky to see a few more museum as well as churches and tourist points. The very interesting museum were the ones of the central bank, that showed the history of the old currency of the country (before they switched to the US dollar) as well as the Casa de la cultural which was a remarkable museum with loads of artifacts from pre-Colombian culture not to mention some wonderful ones made from gold. For someone who spent most of his time in Ecuador studying gold extraction it was very interesting to see how it was extracted and processed into artifacts back then. I also went to the teleferico in Quito which takes you from the base of one of the side of the mountain to the top (from 2800m to 4100m), the view from there on the whole town from u p there is simply unbelievable, I will have to put photos on Facebook to show it. I was very fortunate to stay in Quito through friends that I met through work and cannot explain my gratitude and how thankful I am for allowing me to stay with them.
I then headed to Otavalo when my time in Quito was over. Otavalo is a small time north that has quite a unique charm due to different things, the people there, its colonial shape as well as its wonderful craft market. I originally went there for a good bye party for my friends from Belgium that I had met in Canoa the week before. I was planning on staying for two nights and ended up staying 4 due to the fact that I was offered accommodation through my friend's family which was very nice of them. While there, I was also lucky enough to visit the Parque Condor which is a fabulous bird sanctuary where injured bird are healed. I would strongly recommend anybody with a conservation or biology who wants to Volunteer to apply there as the place is quite unique and has a wide range of bird species. Unfortunately my camera died before we got there . I also had the opportunity to put my swimming skills to serious test as with the family was staying an ex-olympic now world-masters swimmer. Although our specialties were different it was quite interesting to swim with him and to see how out of competition shape I am plus the high altitude made a bit challenging for both of us...
From Otavalo, I headed on the bus to another wonderful place: Cuenca. The bus ride was a bit long totaling 12 hours but travelling by night means you do not need to worry about accomodation until the morning when you get there. I ended up staying at a hostal that opened recently and was recommended by a friend: Hostal Yakumama. I would strongly recommend anybody wanting to visit cuenca to stay there as they have a great happy hour and the owners are wonderful people and you can always meet great people while there to party or visit the town with. While I was in Cuenca for only three nights and four days, I really enjoyed the town center, the night scene and a short trip to Ingapirca to see the local Inca ruins. Cuenca's old town is so full of history that you could probably spend two week seeing just the historical center of the town.
This sums up the Andean part of my trip all these towns were over 2500m of elevation which made a bit lightweight for drinking but at least I feel really good now that I am at sea level again...
I then headed to Mancora in Peru on a 7 hours bus ride crossing the border at 2am. Getting at the border at that time meant I was not really awake, I also received a warning for being at 91 days on my visa (one extra day apparently and only by two hours) but apparently good enough to have a warning and have a photo of my passport taken. Mancora is a lot like Montanita, great place with lots of party and a nice surf break, (although the waves are just getting big today on my third day here) and lots of friendly people. I am planning on staying here for the next few days until the national holidays end, this way I can resume my travelling peacefully again.
This is it friends. Photos should follow on Facebook later. I hope you enjoyed this entry.